Microsoft is gearing up for the roll out of Windows 10. As a matter of fact, I have poured through it with a developer’s ISO stack for almost a year now. Attached to Windows 10 is Project Spartan which is Microsoft’s (MS) Code Name for the replacement of Internet Explorer. It is a brave new world. The reality is that when Windows did the 8.x forks, the panel layout is eerily similar to Linux — at least from the Graphic Users Interface (GUI) point-of-view. As opposed to the concept that this is simply another version of Windows, people need to understand that this IS THE LAST VERSION OF WINDOWS! More on that later in the Series.
For years, the Mortgage Field Services Industry has had an unhealthy addiction to proprietary software. Early on, virtually all aspects of the Industry required Internet Explorer — Aim Your Way and A2Z Field Services are two good examples. To be able to transmit or receive anything — spreadsheets, written proposals, Power Point Displays — currently require MS Office. The operating system (OS) running this entire technological disaster has always been Windows.
I want to talk about document creation, processing and transmission first. Everyone in the Industry currently believes that to create, read, process or transmit a word processing document; a spreadsheet; a Power Point Display or a Portable Document Format (.pdf) file you must have MS Windows. This absolutely is not the case. For nearly a decade, I have used what originated as Open Office and now is known as Libre Office. In fact, the only thing, by in large, different between MS and Libre is MS Office costs and costs out the ass. Libre is free and always will be free. Additionally, depending upon the type of MS Office, you may only use it with certain versions of Windows. With respect to portability — your computer crashes or you buy a new one — it takes an act of Congress to transfer the license which is based upon Digital Rights Management (DRM) — an entirely different discussion. The reason that the licensing conversation is vitally important is if you are ever going to conduct real business; if you are going to work with the US Government or are going to ever be audited, licensing could very well bankrupt you if it is not properly done.
For a comprehensive discussion on MS Office vs Libre Office, take a read through a great article written by Thorin Klosowoski over at LifeHacker. The next section is taken from his article. Additionally, for head-to-head feature comparisons, take a read through The Document Foundation’s page and their incredible wiki!
The Word Processor
When it comes to straight up features, Writer and Word are incredibly similar. Writer has all the major features of Word, including a fantastic grammar checker, a solid auto save system, support for a huge variety of formats, and plenty more. If you’re a Word user, you’ll have no problem making the jump to Writer because the two operate and look the same. Likewise, if this is your first Office suite, then Writer is easy to learn and use.
For the most part, Calc and Excel work the same way. If you’re a light spreadsheet user, you probably won’t notice much difference between the two. Both can do basic calculations, handle light math, and organize tables in a variety of ways. However, if you use a lot of Excel macros and programming, then you’re going to struggle with Calc.
On the Spreadsheet issue, the reality is that on a cost analysis ratio; when taking into consideration that both the new Complete Vendor Management System — Code Named Project Orion — and data by in large no longer revolves around Excel Binary File Format (.xls). In fact, while domestically both the United States and the Industry as a whole are heavily dependant upon XLS format, the reality is that even MS Office made the transition over to Extensible Markup Language XML and Office Open XML (OOXML). — Note by Foreclosurepedia’s Editor-in-Chief D. Paul Williams
The reason is that Calc has its own macro language and it’s not always compatible with Excel’s VBA — Visual Basic for Applications — format. This means if you’re trying to switch over to Calc from Excel, you may need to redo a lot of your macros. That said, Calc macros do translate well to Excel—just not the other way around—so if you’re just sending off your own spreadsheets to other people, Calc may suffice.
The word PowerPoint has been synonymous with presentations for a long while, and with good reason: it’s a powerful piece of software and does presentations better than most. Libre Office’s presentation software, Impress, is capable enough, but it’s not going to convert any naysayers. The main issue with Impress is that it still struggles occasionally when importing presentations made in PowerPoint.
The last big piece of software included in both suites is the database management systems. Microsoft Access has long been a the default app for database management, but LibreOffice’s Base is a pretty worthy competitor. The main difference between Base and Access is availability. Access is only available for Windows, whereas Base is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Outside of that, the two are pretty comparable. Both can create forms, reports, SQL, and tables, while connecting to outside databases.
The fact of the matter is that today virtually everything is migrating to the Cloud. The days of having an inordinate investment in hardware such as cumbersome towers, servers and other peripheral items are both unwise and directly impacts the bottom line in a Return on Investment (RoI) analysis. Today, virtually everything which pertains to how software platforms and pieces of equipment communicate with each other, is controlled by an Application Programming Interface (API).
In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. An API defines functionalities that are independent of their respective implementations, which allows definitions and implementations to vary without compromising each other. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.
Foreclosurepedia’s revolutionary Project Megatron utilizes an API in several capacities. First, as our Platform allows for all consumers to communicate with each other at a granular permission based level — For example, a Firm in California might need to have services performed in Massachusetts; however, they want the query process to be automated and without sacrificing potential information breaches to occur. The Platform API allows this to happen. Second, the Work Order originates generally as a Comma Separated Value (CSV), XML or other format. The API which the originating Client has generated, is easily accessed by our Platform’s API. This is revolutionary in that no longer will Industry Personnel have to spend the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on either Pruvan or Property Preservation Wizard — yes, we said Pruvan as we have pioneered the mobile aspect as well!
In addition to accessing databases or computer hardware, such as hard disk drives or video cards, an API can ease the work of programming GUI components. For example, an API can facilitate integration of new features into existing applications (a so-called “plug-in API”). An API can also assist otherwise distinct applications with sharing data, which can help to integrate and enhance the functionalities of the applications.
Project Orion has capitalized upon the open architecture of the World Wide Web (Web). The fact of the matter is that the Industry has failed to keep up with the times. While “web API” historically has been virtually synonymous for web service, the recent trend (so-called Web 2.0) has been moving away from Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) based web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) towards more direct representational state transfer (REST) style web resources and resource-oriented architecture (ROA). Part of this trend is related to the Semantic Web movement toward Resource Description Framework (RDF), a concept to promote web-based ontology engineering technologies. Web APIs allow the combination of multiple APIs into new applications known as mashups. Foreclosurepedia’s ISTAR Clear Base is an example of a Semantic Application and is on par with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Intellipedia.
The practice of publishing APIs has allowed web communities to create an open architecture for sharing content and data between communities and applications. In this way, content that is created in one place can be dynamically posted and updated in multiple locations on the web:
- Photos can be shared from sites like Flickr and Photobucket to social network sites like Facebook and MySpace.
- Content can be embedded, e.g. embedding a presentation from SlideShare on a LinkedIn profile.
- Content can be dynamically posted. Sharing live comments made on Twitter with a Facebook account, for example, is enabled by their APIs.
- Video content can be embedded on sites served by another host.
- User information can be shared from web communities to outside applications, delivering new functionality to the web community that shares its user data via an open API. One of the best examples of this is the Facebook Application platform. Another is the Open Social platform.
- If content is a direct representation of the physical world (e.g., temperature at a geospatial location on earth) then an API can be considered an “Environmental Programming Interface” (EPI). EPIs are characterized by their ability to provide a means for universally sequencing events sufficient to utilize real-world data for decision making.
It is important to bear in mind that the Platform Foreclosurepedia has brought to the Industry incorporates the aforementioned and so much more. With over 517+ man years in time dedicated; with a real world valuation of nearly THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS; with a source code base of over TWO AND A HALF MILLION LINES OF CODE; with more than 248 Contributors, the fact of the matter is that the Mortgage Field Services Industry has never and will never create anything even remotely resembling that which Foreclosurepedia is rolling out.
Foreclosurepedia has partnered with the creators and lead developers from the TikiWiki Community to roll out an Open Source Vendor Management Platform (VMP) at a price which will allow the Contractor in the field to compete at the same levels as the National Order Mills. The beauty of this is the fact that the Source Code will be free forever. The updates thereto will be free forever. It is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL). With major releases every six months and over 100 since inception in 2002, to say that TikiWiki is a stable platform is an understatement!
Foreclosurepedia currently has several large, National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) Members committing nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Research and Development (R&D) to implement the VMP for their specific needs. Not only will the VMP receive, issue and process Work Orders, the VMP will additionally handle Real Estate aspects — the VMP will handle Asset Management and Field Service Management in both pre and post conveyance settings with an ability to address facilities management coupled with the rehab process.
The reality is that for over a decade, NAMFS under the Miller Regime, has regressed to such a state that even its Annual Convention has become more of a circus than an event where business professionals actually come together to discuss the Industry. Last year’s NAMFS #FraudFest actually lost nearly $50,000 when you calculate the vacancies left open from NAMFS Members not wanting to contribute. In fact, last year NAMFS attendees could not even get a simple cup of coffee or a glass of water as no one sponsored the Beverages. This year’s NAMFS #FraudFest is on track for the same. Eric Miller’s abusive attitude and obvious willingness to embrace criminality as opposed to doing what is best of the Industry leads the litany of complaints that many NAMFS Members are now openly expressing. Time and again, the Miller Regime expend both money and energy in an attempt to ensure that Aspen Grove Solutions (AGS), a firm under scrutiny by both Wells Fargo and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), are the sole provider of both Background Checks and eventually the sole provider of technology for the Industry. The lack of competition is both unhealthy and illegal under federal law. While Eric Miller may believe that he and those whom benefit from the far to close relationship with Sean C Ryan are immune from prosecution, the reality is that it is simply a matter of time before they all join the former, disgraced NAMFS Secretary Heather Berghorst in the unemployment line.
The Miller Regime are terrified by the fact that they will have no control over new technology entering the Industry; the Miller Regime is upset by the fact that there is no way to force the payment of kickbacks — monetary or otherwise — from the Open Source Community. It is nothing more glamorous than that. When there is the monopolization of anything, the consumer looses. AGS and the Miller Regime represent the most reprehensible aspects of Sherman Act Violations I have ever seen.
With a price point for Labor at around $900 and around the price of one month’s service for Pruvan and Property Preservation Wizard for Regional Order Mills, the reality is that there is no way anyone will ever be able to compete with this. Did I forget to mention that this is a ONE TIME price? Or that it performs all of the accounting, GEO Data Mapping in real time of both personnel and assets, and incorporates Live Operator (telco, instant messaging, video conferencing, email and all encrypted), multilingual translations, front end Content Management System (CMS), forums … you get the point.
The monetary support of AGS by Guardian Asset Management (GAM) is a prime example of what is wrong with the Industry today. Had GAM simply obtained a product from AGS, no party no foul. GAM became a Poster Child for AGS and that is offensive to the senses and begs the question as to precisely what kind of oversight Labor and home owners may expect pertaining to their confidential information. You see, iRecord has absolutely no transparency with respect to their platform. It is also a testament to precisely how leery the Industry is to turn over complete command and control of all aspects of their business to foreign nationals. GAM is the only company I found which has an AGS Press Release dedicated to their adoption of AGS iRecordand which AGS called a Strategic Partnership. It is dangerous when a Portfolio Holder is able to enter the sphere of the Industry without any internal investment pertaining to administrative protocols.
Tomorrow, Foreclosurepedia will begin to discuss Linux as an Operating System. The ability to do away with anti virus software, alone; the simple fact that Linux as an OS is light years ahead of Windows and is FREE, makes it the OS of choice — This Article was written using Ubuntu Linux as an OS, publishing using WordPress as a Platform and Libre Office to drill down upon our notes. 😉